Took the weasels up Grouse Mountain yesterday to research a scene in my current WIP, Relentless, to make sure I had all the details right before I do the final round of edits. They were thrilled, and loved the gondola ride to the top of the mountain almost as much as they did the Starbucks hot chocolates when we came back down.
The view was amazing, even though black clouds rolled in as we were leaving and it started to snow on the summit. Halfway down it was raining, and over Vancouver and the rest of the lower mainland, it was clear.
I haven't been up to Grouse for years since I was there on a date with my ex-boyfriend, so it was good to see it through fresh eyes again. I flew over it during the Christmas holidays in my dad's chopper, but it's different to stand up on the summit and overlook the city. What spectacular scenery we have here. We're so spoiled! You can visit beaches and forests and mountains all in the same day.
Next trip will be a picnic to Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park to get the exact lay of the land for my characters. What I don't do for them, huh?
Feels so good to almost be done! One more book to go, then I'm off and running on my Night Stalkers series.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Over the weekend I was away from the kids and hubby (two whole days and nights!), and finally finished the first draft of my current work in progress. It feels incredible to have that behind me. Now for the fun part! I've sweated and struggled to get the basic story hammered out, and now comes the polishing and fine tuning.
With the help of my awesome critique partner (hi Katie!), I'll get this one ready for submission in the next few weeks. It's the fourth romantic suspense in my series with TWRP, and I can't believe I've almost finished my fifth book. This one features Rhys and Neveah, and is tentatively titled Relentless. I'm already thinking about Luke and Emily's story. I kind of like Absolution for the title on that one.
This all would have happened a lot sooner had my brand new computer not crashed. I had to send it back to HP to get a new hard drive put in. Ah, the joys of the electronic age. What a weird feeling to be cut off from the world like that. But I digress.
At my RWA chapter meeting last week, we discussed plotting techniques and the responses from our published authors were varied. Some plotted to the nth degree so that every single scene was laid out before they sat down to write the first draft. Others didn't plot at all, just started with a basic idea where they knew the start and maybe the ending (I had to cover my shudder of horror). Others liked the snowflake technique or pearls of wisdom snatched from Save the Cat.
Every writer has their own system, but I wanted to share some other ideas with those of you out there struggling with your story in case they might be of help. Maybe you're at a dead end in your plot, or maybe you can't figure out your characters. Personally, I always write the high plot points first, then the love scenes. After that, I go back and fill in the holes with the subplots and smooth the whole thing out. In my final pass, I add in all the five senses I can. But that's just me. I'm a plotter, but I've also been known to do a bit of pantsing from time to time. The trick is to find what works for you.
I still get stuck, however. Like last week I had no idea how I was going to bridge a major gap between plot points, and I was getting really frustrated. While I was out power washing the fence, I had my Ipod playing on my hero's playlist. This is one technique that really helps me get focused when I sit down to write. I give each major character a playlist so that I have some music ready for writing time. As soon as I hear the music, I'm popped into their headspace. Anyway, out power washing the fence, this one song came on and whammo! I could see Rhys so clearly, his body language and the way he carries himself, and I got to wondering what he was thinking. My brain started whirring and as soon as I'd finished up outside, I came in and went straight to my computer.
Then I did a mock interview for both my hero and heroine, asking them all kinds of deep and meaningful questions like what their worst fear was, what their most crippling insecurity was...stuff like that. Once I was finished, I suddenly knew how to bridge that gap I'd been struggling with. If you've never interviewed your characters before, I highly recommend it. Not only do you get deeper into their heads, but you might learn something about them that you never knew before.
What techniques do you use to get you out of a writing slump?
Friday, April 10, 2009
Kaylea's Candied Ham (serves six to eight adults)
one honey smoked ham (from your supermarket, size and shape of a football)
one two liter bottle of ginger ale
one jar of ginger preserves
handful of brown sugar
3-4 tablespoons of yellow mustard
Cut all the rind off the ham as thinly as possible, and place in a large pot. Cover with the ginger ale and simmer over medium-low heat for three hours. Yes, it's a long time, but just do it. Trust me.
While it's boiling, you'll have plenty of time to make the rest of the dinner. I like to serve it with steamed broccoli and cheese sauce, cheesy scalloped potatoes and some creme caramel for dessert.
To make the glaze, combine the preserves, brown sugar and mustard until it's reasonably smooth. Once the ham has finished simmering, place it in a roasting pan and pour the glaze over the top to coat. Bake at 375 for about an hour, making sure to keep an eye on the glaze so it doesn't burn. After an hour, it should be a burnished brown color. Remove from the oven and spoon the hot glaze over the ham for a minute or two to coat. Let meat rest for 15 minutes.
Slice ham into quarter inch thick slices and arrange on a platter, then pour the remaining glaze from the pan over the top. This is the best ham you or your guests will ever eat--promise!
My family is having Easter dinner at my in laws this weekend so I don't have to cook, but if you are hosting, give this recipe a try. By the way, any leftovers are yummy the next morning served with blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs. Just a thought!